Too many times, parents think that in order to support their children’s developing literacy skills, they have to sit down with a book on their laps, read through the entire book, and then drill their kid with basic comprehension questions when they’re finished reading.
No, no, and no way, Jose.
Sure, I am all for quality book-reading time together, and I am a serious proponent of making homes literate environments. But I am also a queen of sneaking a little learning in at any point in the day.
So I’ve compiled a few of my favorite ways of incorporating literacy into the every day: the teachmama way.
Hopefully you’ll join me for the ride!
- In The Car: Signs, signs, everywhere are signs. I usually try to use the time I’ve got my kiddos strapped safely into their car seats, and I point out the signs we see every single time we leave the house. Start tomorrow–on the way to preschool or the grocery store–and soon you’ll have even your youngest ones yelling, “S-T-O-P, stop! B-U-M-P, bump!”
- At The Table: Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, my kids are again, stuck in their chairs (or at least I hope so!), staring at the decorations on my walls. Being an avid (and even sometimes tacky) holiday-decorator, I’ve tried to buy decorations that have words so that my little ones are learning even while they’re chewing. And those wild and crazy cereal boxes? I close ’em up after cereal is poured, and I leave them on the table. So what if my kids’ first sight words are ‘corn’, ‘pop’, and ‘cheerio’? It’s something!
- On the Beach: After we’ve tired of wave-jumping, crab-hunting, and sand castle-building, I try to sneak in a game or two of tic-tac-toe with my kiddos. There’s something about a stick and wet sand that makes writing–and reading–silly messages all the more fun.
- In the Back Yard: Sticks and stones may break bones, but sticks (if used carefully) can also be pretty cool building blocks for letters and words. When we pile up the sticks from our big tree out back, we’ve ‘written’ names and messages by using the sticks to create letters. Pretty sneaky, huh?
- At the Store: Kid-friendly shopping lists take some preparation on my part, but when I’m faced with a long grocery list and have my 5, 4, and 2 year old with me as my partners in crime, the shopping lists are like gold. By personalizing lists for each of my kiddos, complete with a picture and the name of the item, my children become more invested in the task at hand, and they’re reading along the way.
- In the Kitchen: Lots of parents have their kids help them in the kitchen, but actually having emerging readers read the ingredient list and the directions is a great way of getting them involved in the process and having them practice reading at the same time. I’ve modified many of our favorite recipes so that the ingredient list is easy to read, complete with word and picture, and the directions are clear and have pictures as well.
These are just some of the ways I try to incorporate literacy into our every day. There are a million ways of crossing the same bridge, but as many know, I’m all for the somewhat-secret, kinda-sneaky ways.
Here’s a link to Day 1, The Many Faces of Reading. Happy reading!
(Share a Story, Shape a Future button designed by Elizabeth Dulemba)